tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN December 30, 2014 1:59pm-4:01pm EST
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and follow us on twitter. next on american history tv. lectures in history . >> next, university of michigan that are that jones talks about a female slave who killed her owner after repeated sexual assaults. the class discusses the options she may have had and looks at involvement of her fellow slaves and white neighbors in the course case. this is an hour and 20 minutes.
>> today we began the discussion we started a couple of weeks ago and in particular. enslaved women. we have already had a chance to look at the case of oh harriet jacobs, one of the best remembered of the slave narratives. jacobs introduced us, if you will to the dimension of slavery that's especially illustrated, exemplified. we might say central to the experience of slave women. that's sexual violence. we'll come back a little bit to talk about jacobs in comparison to our case today that of celia. we have also looked at the wpa narratives. one of the things we noticed about those narratives is you will recall the extent to which some issues including sexual violence, violence generally but sexual violence in
particular was rather muted in the slave narratives. so here we have an opportunity with the celia case to take another pass at this question to try and see this dimension of oh slavery through the experience of celia. why do i say try to see this dimension of slavery? well, as you all have already begun to see in your readings for today there are many ways in which the record might be evident upon which we rely to discover, explore and understand the case of celia is a challenging record to make use of. so part of the work today will be to talk about the evidence in the celia case how it is we recover from what is in essence, the record of a trial a rather fragmentary, carefully but id owe sin catcally semed
group of testimonies written and oral arguments of lawyers, conclusions of judges. that mixed with a little bit of newspaper reportage. demographic material like census returns. howç0iñ we take this fragmentary evidence and try to think in thorough going ways about celia's experience and also how we have to continue to think critically about the evidence we use. what it can tell us. and perhaps what it can't tell us about celia's story. you have all read mclauren's book, the first popular historical book length treatment of celia's story. i want to sketch out forlf you the terms of the narrative for the purposes of our discussion today. and, again this comes as a kind of fragmentary narrative. one that's very driven by the court record, the legal artifacts in this case.
sexually assaulted by newsome. some say even in the journey back to fullton but quickly after they arrive at the farm. we know newsome is a recent widower in the household are his children who are now daughters as well as a grandsonment coffee. wayne scott. newsome is a small farmerer. this is not a plantation setting.;;>px
celia arrives not to do agricultural work. part of what we know is over the next five years she would be regularly and frequently the target of newsome's sexual assaults. newsome will build a small cabin for celia, 60 paces from his home far away. but not too far away as we learn. she will come to live there in these years, herself with then
one child children we come to know as vine and jane later in the story. celia tells people she's sick. pregnant again. whether sick is a metaphor for pregnancy or she's having a difficult pregnancy it's clear celia does not want to abide or accommodate or acquiesce again going forward to newsome's sexual advances. the first thing she appears to do is speak to newsome's daughters. she asks the women in this household to intervene on her behalf. to, in some way, speak to their father and to see if he won't
desist from assaulting. celia has her own confrontation with newsome. for our purposes the core of the story. she seeps to advise him, don't come to see me. i will not accommodate your advances. i don't want to have sexual relations with you. i will not have sexual relations with you. still, on a june night in 1855, new uhsome will come 60 steps from his parlor to celia's cabin, confront her. speak to her approach her in what's, to celia's mind the suggestion that he will now sexually assault her. we know celia defends herself. she picks up a stick, a club. it's variously described. she strikes newsome once again. and perhaps many times until he
falls, is unconscious and dead in her cabin. what do you do if you're celia? well, part of what we know is when she retells the story. for a while she's stunned. she hasn't anticipated hasn't quite intended to kill newsome. she's intended to protect herself, fend him off. but now as she realizes he's dead, the question then becomes how should she deal with that fact? we know she attempts to conceal the evidence of what's transpired. by morning we know very little
is left. some ashes. some bone fragments. but celia is confident enough that she has concealed her act that as morning breaks, she continues about the ordinary routine of the household. she makes her way to the kitchen to begin to prepare breakfast for the newsome family. newsome's children search the farm. has he wandered off, had an accident? there is no sign of him. neighbors join the search and questioning begins. the interrogation. this informal but very important interrogation of people on the farm. newsome's grandson relates he's helped celia distribute the
ashes from her fire. along the path leading to the stable on the newsome farm. there is george, the enslaved man owned by newsome. george relates -- we'll come back to his testimony. but relates that perhaps they want to search in the vicinity of celia's cabin. celia herself, as we know progressively tells a story.o she denies whereabouts of what might happened to him. she begins to tell a story. we understand in a sense why that might have been. the consequences for her act are grave, as we know. and she begins to tell a story first about having newsome having put his head through the window. having struck him and his
disappearing into the night. but eventually it seems particularly under duress, that is under the threat that in fact, she may be separated from her children. celia reveals to these neighbors, local farmers who have come to investigate the whereabouts of newsome. she reveals to them out of the earshot of the newsome children she reveals she in fact, struck newsome dead and disposed of his body in the fireplace. we can follow the story then as it makes its way through now a legal frame. there is an inquest. these local neighbors who have been at the fore of the investigation. newsome's children and celia herself will all give testimony before a local grand jury leading to the indictment, the formal charging of celia with
the murder. there will be a trial. many parties will come forward, re-tell the stories with one exception. doesn't testify at the trial. do you remember? who does not testify. celia herself doesn't testify. pursuant to missouri law as is typical, no defendant is given the opportunity to testify at trial. a defendant in 19th century legal culture is deemed to be too self-interested to give testimony. celia herself doesn't testify. many of the parties we have become familiar with do testify. they retell in a sense celia's story. celia's version of events. one of the things that becomes clear at trial while there are facts in dispute and we'll come
back to a couple of them. the core of celia's story is never in dispute. there never is a question about a relationship. she's become sick and tried to avoid and to fend off newsome's sexual advances. ultimately by the court. this core narrative is one on which everyone comes to agree. celia is ultimately found guilty
by a local jury. we'll come back to our discussion. seal i can't avoids the initial hanging date. she's been taken to a hiding place. who's responsible for that and how it comes about is one of the mysteries of celia's case. we know she's returned to the local jail. a new execution date is set. the state court of appeals hears preliminarily the possibility of celia's appeal. celia's lawyers ask if the high court will stay or postpone her execution temporarily until there is a formal review of the legal proceedings in the trial
court. in 1855 she's hanged in missouri. i want to come back with you today to revisit this case through some of the themes that we have been developing over the course of the last weeks. come back to celia as its own story, but also as a window into the experience of enslaved women. the role of sexual assault in the context of slavery but also to look at the ways in which legal culture plays a critical role here in mid 1850s missouri.
judges lawyers, grand juries. local jurors, investigators, witnesses. all playing a critical role in determining, if you will, in framing how we might interpret celia's story. how we might come to conclude whether celia was justified. you remember the case turns. was celia entitled to assert self-defense when she acted to put off newsome. to resist his sexual assault. was she entitled to that sort of self-defense in the face of that imminent harm that newsome surely was going to force upon her as he had before. or as an enslaved woman was celia without recourse? not in life. we moe in life she had recourse.
she seized it. before the law, did she have recourse? those are going to be our questions going forward today. so three sorts of questions. the first i want to use for us to come back to harriet jacobs who we visited a couple of weeks ago. jacobs is, of course the best remembered of enslaveded women. she's so well remembered in part because she pens an extraordinary narrative. the book we come to know is incidents in the life of a slave girl published under the pseudonym linda brent. when we talked about jacobs, we talked about incidents and we saw that, the if you will, as a form of testimony. complicated testimony filtered through jacobs's own concerns about her reputation and her
standing as a free black woman when she publishes this narrative. filtered through anti-slavery politics. but we read, you will recall carefully to try to discern the ways in which still through this narrative jacobs allows us to glimpse something of the persistence, the presence of sexual assault, the threat of sexual assault as part of enslaved women's lives. over the course of years threatens, confronts, promises -- almost promises right? to ultimately have access to
jacobs's body. to have sexual relations with her. she lives under this threat. it's so present in her life that we know in the broad strokes she will ultimately secret herself away for the dramatic seven years in the attic of her grandmother's home until she's finally able to make her way north into freedom. how would we compare these two stories? jacobs on the one hand and celia on the other. what sort of -- in what way sould we compare them? in what ways are the stories similar stories? for you and in what ways are they contrasting stories just hands. >> i was thinking about the differences in the support systems that jacobs and celia
on the right we have a justice of the peace's writing of celia's testimony. maybe i have -- no, that wasn't it. let's try. here down on the right you can see the x. [ inaudible ] >> celia couldn't. that comes into play whether or not she would have had a different outcome for the trial or not. >> good. yeah? >> the narratives are different. harry jacobs was obviously written by herself. her story we know. through what she's told us. and celia's story is what we know from the court cases and
testimonies which can be questionable. >> yeah. this is great. part of this question about literacy, come back to the question of isolation. literacy and isolation are two ways in which we can think about dramatically the ways in which not only the stories unfold but our capacity to remember them are shaped. jacobs is literate even as she's enslaved in north carolina. we remember this becomes part of the drama between her and dr. flint precisely because he passes part of his terror is to pass her notes in this yeah, siobhan? >> i noticed a similarity. they really didn't have anything to lose except when it came to their children. because jacobs wouldn't have
stayed in the attic for seven years if it wasn't for her looking for the safety of her children. with celia, it wasn't until the interrogator threatened her children where she felt she had to cave in. i believe if it wasn't for them having children, they would have done anything to get out of the situation. >> very good. we've got two nodes of difference and one important piece of similarity. we'll come back to that. to come back to the literacy question, we know jacobs had the capacity to read and write. this plays a role.
jacobs is someone for whom jacobs plays a key role. for us we know the literacy is of extraordinary consequence. we have not only her narrative in the life of a slave i girl. we have her correspondence over many years. we are able to recover in a sense a kind of nuance, interiority that eludes us in celia's case in part because celia is at a distance from writing. her testimony or confession. we recognize that this text has come through some very complex channels before it arrives to us. celia narrates a story. a justice of the peace listens to the story. writes his own interpretation if you will of her words.
then celia signs with an x. we are right to be skeptical about this sort of artifact because we know celia herself could not read and review the document. even as the x suggests she somehow assented to its content. literacy is an important piece. a number of you mentioned isolation. here isolation in celia's story takes a number of oh forms, doesn't it? on the one hand, we could contrast her experience with that of jacobs who lives in a small town. she has regular access. we'll come back to her family. even in the intercourse of her day to day life with free african-americans, with other white people in edenton that jacobs has a world that becomes critical to understanding how she are resist it is doctor and
how she escapes. you're right. what her life was like, we can't say. we don't know. certainly we know that when she makes the brief migration from audrian to fulton and the newsome farm she's clearly without family without acquaintances and the isolation of the farm, many miles from small downtown fulton means she doesn't have the kind of access to allies, to information, to le sources that jacobs herself had. that's most vividly under scored by the question of family, isn't it? we know the role that family plays. the powerful role that family plays for harriet jacobs. her grandmother and her uncle
early on who not only provide her psychological support. but they are a sort of moral compass, if you will. it butt residence s jacobs's critique of her mission, that she has these family interlokiters who are critical to her resistance over time. celia and george by the time newsome is killed. what sort of community might that have been for celia? a modest one. perhaps one that was profoundly transient. we see enslaved people there. disappear. are they sold? do they run away?
we can't say. we know there is a transience to this. while she seems to have an intimate relationship with george. relative to jacob's choice. siobhan pointed to the similarity. mother hood is a theme we have come back to again and again. we see two women who clearly on the one hand jacobs who very strategically secrets herself looking not only to secure her own liberty away from north carolina but thinking strategically about how to secure the liberty of her children. celia with two small children.
there is a moment when it seems to be the case that she gives herself up in a feudal but still powerful attempt to deflect the threat that if she won't tell the story she will be separated. both narratives speak to the pervasiveness, the terrible duress that sexual assault disproportionately visits upon enslaved women. these are two powerful examples.
as we have also said across the semester, our work is partly not to collapse or reduce all enslaved women all black women to one experience. we can appreciate, i think through this comparison the ways in which time and place and circumstance are essentially to ex plaining how it is that for jacobs's freedom liberation comes by way of hiding, by way of fugitive status. by way of writing. for celia, liberty in a sense comes through force, through the club through the violent confrontation. two women's responses to what we might say is a shared experience
and at the same time an experience that's framed very are differently and has, as we know vastly different outcomes. we want to shift now. part of the way we have been talking about celia's case, particularly as we compare her experience to that of oh harriet jacobs allows us to talk about the social world in a very ambitious and open-ended way. here i want to shift to under score the ways in which once celia's story, once celia's case enters legal culture the frame shifts and becomes much more narrow, more specialist. the questions of investigators of judges, of lawyers then by
the whole of celia's experience. while there are many things we know about the case, i want to talk about how we approach the evidence, if you will and how legal culture thinks about the evidence. we're going to look at the transcriptions of some of the material from celia's trial record. i want to give appreciations to a former u of m undergraduate allison gorsich . she was a senior here some years ago in the program in american culture. she wrote a senior thesis -- an excellent seniorí;d w thesis on the history and memory of the celia case. allison transcribed the trial
record, that manuscript material. it's her transcriptions that we'll take a look at over the next few minutes. you will appreciate allison i though, since we ourselves wrestled with transcribing the letters of sara max douglas. allison spent a year first transcribing and then analyzing these materials. she continues today to work on the celia case as a j.d. ph.d. student at yale. i'm glad we have a chance to look at her early work on the seal i can't case. celia case. what we have in the record are sworn testimonies prior to the trial as part of the inquest. some of the figures local farmerers who came to the farm have talked with the family. talked with celia. talked with george.e cd theyc]ck provide sworn statements
to the inquest body as they determine whether or not celia should be indicted for murder. so here william powell who we know is a local farmer tells us something of what we know about this i think important, but again hard to figure out figure. that's george. i don't know about you. after i read celia's case the first time george was one of the most intriguing important but difficult to situate figures. you have read some of mclauren's interpretation of george. today we'll back up a little bit and come back to the evidence. i want to ask how you think we should understand the role of oh george in the story based upon the testimony we have. here william powell a local
farmer. he's relating his confrontation with george the day after newsome disappeared. i asked his new girl boy george where0cmu e was -- that is where newsome was. he stated he didn't believe it was worthwhile to hunt for him anywhere except close around the house. he had reasons to believe he was not far off. i told him he'd better go and show us the old man if he knew where he was. he stated he believed the last walking he had done was along this path. that is the path between newsome's home and celia's cabin. pointing to the path leading from the house to the negro cabin, celia's cabin. from the statement of george, i believed he had been destroyed or killed in the negro cabin celia's cabin. here we have powell.
george doesn't give a formal statement. we hear george's words. we have the suggestion that -- what? george has somehow, if not implicated celia, certainly implicated her cabin as the site of newsome's demise. this will lead to the area around her cabin and scrutinize celia herself. this precedes the confrontation with celia are. we have a transcription of his
oral testimony. on cross-examination which is to say as he's being examined by the attorneys for celia he again speaks of george. i went into the cook house where celia was. i told her she knew where her master was. that george had said enough to make me believe she knew where he was. she denied it. now, george svenis more deeply implicated. powell is relating the first confrontation with celia in the kitchen. she knew where her master was.
we can see the ways in which powell and others who were investigating this case begin to discern that between celia and george might be a space in which they can insert some doubt. insert some confusion that might net them more evidence. maybe a confession. they are off one another in a sense. embellishing perhaps even what george has said to him. celia, as we know at this juncture remains resolute that she had nothing to do with this. finally, jefferson jones.
you will remember a neighboring farmer large farmer in fulton. the farm is just adjacent to the family. jefferson jones is one of the first people outside of the newsome family on the scene. in his testimony will play an important role in the indictment of celia and in her conviction. jones himself is a small slave holder. at trial he testifies. he said he wasyqdwb standing in the middle of the room when she struck him. this is celia. i asked whether she told anyone she intended to kill the old man. jones has a theory that perhaps there is a modest conspiracy afoot. perhaps celia was premeditated in her plan. i asked whether she told anyone she intended to kill the old man. she said she never had.
i told her joernl had run off and she might as well tell if he had anything to do with killing the old man. she said george need not have run off. for that he knew nothing about it. i asked if george advised her to kill the old man. another theory. not only that she had premeditated but that, in fact, it was george who told her to kill newsome. she said he never had. said george told her he would have nothing more to do with her if she didn't quit the old man. said george had been staying with her. so yeah. >> i was reading a little bit online in more detailment i feel he pressured her into no other option to kill the master because he wouldn't have anything more to do with her. isn't the first kid by the
master and the second was unsure. she didn't know if it was master or george. >> we are unsure mostly about celia's third child. she's pregnant at this moment. there is an open question about whether that child was fathered by newsome or george. there is a strong suggestion that there is an intimate relationship between celia. george stays with her this notion that george has urged celia, suggested strongly to celia that she should avoid new some. it's possible that there is a more filial kind of relationship. that they are friends like brother and sister and george is looking out for celia's best interest. it seems to be more likely that he had been staying with her, that they had an intimate relationship of a sort. there is no question now when we get to the testimony of jones
that celia herself is reinforcing the theory that certainly george played a role in this story. she's quite resolute still, even here in her confrontations that george has not advised her to conspire with a physical hand in disposing of the body. these are the questions we have. it's clear there is a role. he goes on. struggled with the right hand on the right side of his head. i asked if george had not struck the old man from behind. she said he knew nothing about it. and was not there at the time. again, jones has pressed this theory that george has a role and celia remains consistent
throughout the many opportunities that she has to tell her own story. she remains resolute that george didn't have a role. so when i look back on this testimony, and i asked myself why do i have -- why am i still having questions about george? there is no fact that's more provocative than that one in which we learn that jones tells celia that george has run off. did you have a reaction to the notion that george has apparently, according to jones, run off? how might we interpret george's running off at this juncture? why do you think that shapes my
initial impressions of george? yeah. >> i don't know. it makes it seem like he did have something to do with it. or like he's guilty of something. for me i felt like it was kind of oh messed up. if he and celia were together, why would he point out that mr. newsome was at her cabin? you know i don't know. if it was me, i don't know where he was at? i have no idea. maybe he was over with the chickens or whatever. i wouldn't point her out like that. i just felt weird about george from the beginning. >> george -- >> can yougtz point to something? i know it's your gut.
point to this. is there something in this testimony or other testimony that leads you -- despite celia tells you over and over again george had nothing to do with it. why do you think that? >> he ran away. that's pointing out guilty. he didn't run away when she was there. he dies. oh george left. plus she could be strong enough obviously to kill. but i feel like she would need help from a man. i feel lick slaves back then, i guarantee she feared her masterer so she wouldn't do it by herself. george helped her out. >> i have a lot of hands. i will work my way across the room. go ahead. >> put him in some type of help for the killing of it.
also for any man. like any man in slavery. i would think this man is sexually abusing my girl. you can't do anything about it. when i have the opportunity i'm pretty sure somebody would react to it. obviously he's dead now. no one wants to get caught. i will try to help my girl wherever they were at the time. get rid of the body. >> okay. good. >> nobody gets in trouble. >> i have siobhan and then we'll come across to molly. >> i think everyone wants to believe that a woman isn't strong enough to actually have the power to kill him. so i think what the court is trying to do is it's like already established the threat of a black man. of oh how strong he is how aggressive he is. but for a black woman to have that power to kill a master would pose another issue. i think what the court is trying
to do is trying to justify the situation saying it's a strong aggressive black man, black slave man that did it versus a slave woman that did it. i think with george. he already threw her under the bus anyways. at that point when she was in the court she had a chance to get revenge on him if she wanted to. i felt the way he might have felt is if they say anything involving her children in the court, she might say anything to get out of the situation. at that point he really was at the mercy of celia. i feel like for self-preservation he did the best thing for himself by running away. >> okay. molly? >> how else would he know -- like why would he suggest where mr. newsome was if he didn't have something to do with it? it didn't make sense. she told him and he was covering
for her. it does seem like i guess celia was my age. i don't think i could pull the dead body of an old man -- i don't think i'm strong enough. i don't see how she could do that by herself, especially pregnant and sick. [ inaudible ] >> they were so strong. i don't know. i think you would be capable of pulling a dead body. in terms of george, maybe celia felt she needed him to be out of the case. because she was very attached to her children. like we said there were only two adults -- black adults at this family farm. so if he was convicted, too there would be no one to watch her children. i couldn't imagine what she felt like if they told her he had ran. where would her children go? i don't really feel that was
ever fully discussed. >> okay. got one here. >> there were only two adult slaves. i think we don't know if they had an intimate relationship. if he would be her own family she had. she would have had anything to protect her even if he had been involve period had run away. >> and yeah i also think that -- i mean not like yeah, if he did run away he left her under the bus, but at the same time i don't think that implies guilt, necessarily. there only two slaves on this farm and i don't think it would have -- the way the system's slavery works i don't think they would have seen george innocent in any way.
i think he could run away to save himself and that doesn't necessarily impliar guilt. that's prevalent today in a lot of people.vd1jv people who don't have them to fairly represent themselves tend to do things because they feel like they have no other option and some are way worse but it doesn't mean they are guilty. also you could see how a lot of times they kind of say thing that are not necessarily true to get to responses they want. this could have been something jefferson jones was saying to say like george ran away. it's on you and tell us everything you know because you are the only one left and we are going to pin it on you. it could be a device to get a confession out of her. >> good. a couple more? yeah.
>> it's hard to make an idea of what possibly could happen, but it took like six hours and where was george in that time? for him to run away, even if he had something to do with it it made him afraid. so he left and didn't want anything to do with it. >> lindsay, more? >> we were talking about evidence. i'm curious why what would have been the reason there would have been a fire in her cabin in june. >> tooking probably in june. not so unusual for there to have been a fire, although the quantity of ashes turns out to
be a little suspicious. i'm going to move on but this is good. i'm glad to know you share my initial unsettledness about the role of george. and remember that all we have are the testimonies of the neighboring farmer who is narrate for us what they say george said and sealia said and it would be a mistake to have too much confidence and they have the sense that the ways in which these investigators are twisting and embellishing and emphasizing some facts in an
effort to x tract confessions in annest to secure a conviction. as researchers we read this with caution. just because jones told us that george had run off look at what he said. he doesn't say george had run off. i told her that george had run off. we are not surprised in the telling of that true or false it's an effort to break sealia down. to encourage her as it was george having abandoned sealia in this extraordinary moment.
how do we deal with this as historians? that is to say it's powerful and provocative testimony. our understanding and perceptions of what transpired and the role george played. as we have done in other examples, we have to think critically. one way is to look for alternative evidence that might help us fill in some of the blanks and peace together the puzzle of george. you know last wednesday i spent the day with the sealia project our working group on the history of the case and we visited fulton missouri. one of the places we visited was the kingdom of callaway
historical society where they don't have the trial record. they had the state records. why is this interesting? after he dies and we all know he is killed in june of 1855. it will be necessary for his heirs and the legal representatives of the estate to take an inventory tow accumulate all of his assets and debts and distribute his outside of the prosecution of sealia for murder, those court records have survived. they are there with the state records. while i know you can't see it
here towards the bottom here is the inventory of the slaves in the household and one neg reman george valued at $900. george had not disappeared at all. when it comes time to inventory the estate, there was george and if we continue what we find george himself will be sold to a clave holder for $1190. that he hadn't disappeared at all. so here for me, this changes a lot at how i read that testimony
that that comes from the local farmers. he is ultimately as caught up in his own way in the aftermath of the killing and not ever changed or convicted of the murder, but subject to what we have come to understand is another of slavery's most harsh practices. he is sold from the community he knows and the household he knows and the people whom he knew best. george is sold it changes how we read that and helps a appreciate those stories upon stories of our work going
forward in unhalving the mysteries of the case and read it as a way of perhaps tugging about the ways in which sealia and george were caught in this housing hold. they are both caught up in harsh ways. they are the other two slaves and they're children. sealia's children. one, a girl named jane who is three years old. and a girl named viny who is
three years old. the second a girl, 1 1/2 years old named jane. both here valued at $150 each. when george is sold and we account of the record of george's sale alongside is the sale of sealia's two daughters out of the household as well. new evidence adds us to have more about this case. one more and i think it's worth the question. slavery and the law. let's go back to the trial. part of what you know is at the end of this trial, the presiding judge, the trial judge will instruct the jurors in this case. what does it mean to instruct the juror? here jurors are not legal professionals and they don't have special knowledge of the
law, be it of rape or murder or be it of self defense. part of the court's role is to instruct the jury and educate and direct the jury. the law so that jurors can weigh the evidence and ultimately the question of sealia's guilt against the law as the report instructs it. i want to look again at the state law and the actual jury instructions in this case. we learn i think from this the ways in which the powerful role that a lo# ñ0 judge's interpretation of the law a powerful role in determining sealia's fate. sealia's lawyers, you will recall have attempted to introduce evidence and to argue
that sealia while she killed newsom is not guilty of first-degree murder. why? because by missouri law an individual who understands him or herself to be a victim of a felony and be in the imminent fear of bodily harm has the right to respond to that in self defense. the argument is she did so defending herself against newsom's commission of the felony of rape or defilement. here is the statute that is key to determining whether or not sealia was in fact in imminent fear of being raped. let's read it together. any person who shall take them lawfully and by force, menace or
duress compel him to marry any other person or to be defiled shall be punished by imprisonment not less than three or exceeding five years. what are the key words here for our consideration? any woman unlawfully against her will. any woman unlawfully against her will. how do you read this. as it applies to sealia? mary? >> that makes the assumption that the woman in question has will in fact. i know that as a slave, no such world exists and that's why the court did not recognize her self defense claim. >> good. it is any woman against her
will. one of the key questions that the court must resolve for itself before it instructs the jury is is sealia a woman with will as an enslaved woman such that she can resist? >> i think that's incompatible with the idea of slavery at the time. it's okay for the slave owner to order something to thehu but that upon conviction there of said had to those two things are incompatible. >> every person including newsom upon conviction. could newsom have been convicted? could he have been convicted in the same local court for the defilement of sealia? yeah? >> and more about the unlawfully
part? it's more like -- i know they had dehumanization of this point. as a slave she didn't have the protection under the law. that's against her will. that was counted as rape because she was property and he could do whatever she wanted and less so about her will and more if it was unlawfully against her will. >> excellent, excellent. excellent post reading. we have a judge in central missouri in the mid-1850s who has to read this language and ask himself what is the state of the law and how should i interpret the law in this specific instance. a slave holding man and enslaved woman. is the will of the master absolute?
such that sealia has no will to resist. is the phrase any woman actually implicitly qualified and does it really mean any free woman? any white woman? all of these things are questions. in sealia's example are in the hands of a local judge. how does this play out? well prior to actually charging the jury giving the jury instructions, the judge solicits from lawyers for both sides. the prosecutor and the defense lawyer, their recommendations for charges to be proposed. wonderful man script documents which i haven't asked you to read because we have allison's excellent transcriptions.8d here this is the jury instruction, one of the instructions and the key jury instruction that is proposed.
i know this instruction he declined to then direct the jury in this way. the defense argues that if the jury from the evidence sees thaw did kill newsom and the killing was necessary to protect herself against a fourth sexual intercourse with her and imminent danger of such forced sexual connection being accomplished by newsom, they will not find her guilty of murder in the first degree. here is an interpretation of the law. it brings together the statute with the self defense and makes an argument and provides a frame for how the jury might interpret this evidence. this is the argument made by sealia's lawyers and what we recognize here is that this is
sealia's story. sealia's story that she has told overtime bit by bit and ultimately again and again is one in which she understood herself to be in imminent danger of a forced sexual encounter and fines herself in such danger and she acts in self defense. not to intentionally kill newsom but to defend herself against sexual assault. here sealia's testimony sealia's narrative and critique of her own circumstances then informs and makes its way into this proposed jury instruction. let's look at the instruction that the court actually delivers. if newsom was in the habit of having intercourse with the defendant who was the slave and went to the cab up on the night he was killed to have
intercourse for her or for any other purpose and while he was standing on the floor talking to her, she struck him with a stick which was a dangerous weapon and knocked him down and struck him after he fell and killed him either by blow it is murder in the first degree. it's an extraordinary jury instruction in part because it is so specific to the facts. here the court has by way of proposal adopted the version of the law that is a blueprint of the story except that the conclusion is counter to the conclusion the defense teamáb offered. he was talking to her about having sexual intercourse with
her or anything else. the way in which this moment by way of the crafting of jury instructions is now closing the possibilities. narrows the possibilities for the out come in this trial. # and we know she did that. >> are so say it again? was it particular to -- >> was it particular to enslaved women and it's a good question. not quite a court decision, but here a jury instruction which is
powerful and a powerful framing and the decision if you will is ultimately a verdict of guilty rendered by the jury itself. but to your central question, is this particular to enslave women? what do you think when you look at the language?0o9cx >> this is particular to sealia and we don't have to look more. this is so specific to her case. >> thely we would need to look more broadly in other cases. there few such cases in missouri in this period. we could look at this alongside
other and part of what we learn side this is not only a state in missouri. this is a question of rape with the women and concluding that this role, this configuration is specific to enslaved women and specific to women that are not free. the way in which the court is bringing it back even though it's not expressly provided for in the law and developing a common law we would say. >> i think the jury instruction predate this is and the
testimony that george ran away and that was false. i think that was because it fed into the social influences that we see here. because not only does it implicate a black man as being violent which was a popular image, but now that's controversial, also to grant the claim of self defense and also set a legal precedence that would have to be recognized not only in the state of missouri, but the courts nationwide and that would unravel the roots of slavery to be a dehumanizing institution. >> one of the questions of this choice that he has with what would be the implications what would be the implications to complete otherwise and our readings more generally with others have suggested the ways
in which this story this circumstance that deals with the sexual assault and the slave women by to be able to defend themselves and opens the door and appears to open a door for this court that are going open and no court that is in the 1850s. i want to end to talk about where we are with this to be a case in some sense. you have read 1991 book that
popularized the story and made it possible for us to teach her that the work continues. with other 1850s missouri case involving slavery dred scott a case we mentioned and many of you know about in which a man sues for his freedom having been brought to free territory, ultimately sided by the supreme court that he is a slave. the dred scott case is that we study and read and situate and read. perhaps not quite made it to that sort of space. there important local figures who worked and i want to point to some of these in closing. here on the left you see
margaret bush wilson was now deceased anp% was a long standing and much admired attorney. civil rightseaj&m attorney. she hfvúez learned about sealia and wanted to work to help commemorate her and bring her story to light. she commissions in the 1990s the portrait you see on the left. an oil portrait of sealia done by the artist on the right solomon thurm an in st. louis who the project met this past weekend. we were very privileged to meet him and learn more about his work on sealia's portrait. here is a moment in which we have local figures working in important ways to preserve and bring her story to light. this portrait hangs briefly in the missouri historical society
before it becomes part of margaret bush wilson's personal collection. the poem that she writes gives you a sense about the purpose of sealia's memory. for at least margaret bush wilson. it is on the one hand about restoring that story to visibility. extracting it from the historical record and bringing it to light. for margaret bush wilson she is an inspiration. we got strength from your courage. they take this story that it inspires us to be courageous in our own lifetimes. in fulton missouri. from about 2005 to 2011 and 12
the anniversary of sealia's execution to hold a candlelight vigil and pay tribute to her. bringing her out from the security andd,w2 holding her case up and in this instance why sealia the group that wants to talk about racism in the 21st century. she is part of a narrative. racism then racism today. we still have racism in fulton. she then takes on a symbolic value for telling a long history of racism in this local community where she lived and where she died. finally there have been two stage productions and one locally and the other in london england. both dramatizations and powerful bringing the story to mass audiences.
but in both of these instances, playwright taking important creative license to get sealia words that we know she never spoke. from all the records we had, we had no unmediated words of hers. her story reaching large audiences and becoming fictionalized and remember when we talk about harriet tubman and the moment when it wrotes the dangers that's doing the work of trying to understand these new archives and these materials that go beyond the court record like the estate inventories and we went to the site of the newsom farm. here's where i think as much as i think i wanted to end by telling you the historians are
the bastian of evidence of social science that we won't get caught up in romance or memory or myth or fiction when it comes to sealia, i will leave you to contemplate this scene which is our team on federal land in fulton, the site where the family and the newsom farm stood. the site of this dramatic moment. all that is left are foundation stones and old trees and open fields, but here historians too wanting in a sense to walk that walk, the 60 paces from the house to the cabin to in some sense try to inhabit sealia's world to try to be closer in some sense to her and her experience. we all say there wasn't much
evidence here. it was extraordinarily powerful to walke$qñ for an afternoon the walk that she had walked those years ago. we will stop here. when i see you next time, we will continue with the theme of the memory and myth by looking at the case of sojourner truth. you will read the biography of sojourner truth and look at the ways in which he tries to pull history from myth in the life of that extraordinary figure. thank you all very much. and have a great day and i will see you on thursday. lectures in history every saturday at 8:00 and 9:00
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commanders in chief. delving into america's past and the real series featuring the educational films from the 1930s through the 70s. c-span 3 created by the cable tv industry and funded by your local cable and satellite provider. like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> next mercer university professor examines the life and legacy of booker t washington. he looks at his ideological platform that encouraged african-americans to establish their own economic base while washington helps create institutions such as the national negro business league and had opposition to the ideas during his time and since. he compares the ideas and tactics of booker t washington and martin luther king,jr. this class is about an hour and 20
minutes. >> remember that we have been talking about booker t washington. some of you disagree that i have insist insisted that the statement in class many of you disagreed with said washington was the most important and most influential african-american leader until the election of president barack obama. he is even more significant in some ways because wooker t washington was never elected to public office. president barack obama is elected president of the united states and he is not a black leader. he is a leader of the free world and leader of our country. when we look at african-american leadership out of the 19th and
20th century and into the 21st century, booker t washington has no piers. some of you disagree. i make my case that you can in fact agree or disagree. we started with washington first. this is the original structure and home in which booker t washington was born. he talks about his humble beginnings. we said that washington was establishing his credibilities as a black leader. in the 19th century, in order to establish your credentials as a race leader you had to have been a what? a slave. right? at the beginning up from slavery, he establishes his street credibilities. he was a slave. now we know he wasn't a slave for long. because slavery ended when he
was 12. we also know that because slavery ended so early in washington's life he may not have experienced the full import and the weight of slavery because it ended when he was 12 years old. before the importw9&@u it usually did not rest on slave which were fully until they reached puberty. washington was a slave but he told us things about slavery. he also told us that -- the fact that he said that his owner was not a particular low bad owner. that is oxymoronic and problematic problematic, thinking of someone owning you. a slave master. it's not a bad person when the whole idea of owning a slave is
terrible it seems to many of us. this was the actual house in which booker t washington was born. then we know that washington went on to distinguish himself and given a bunch of stuff. washington went on to distinguish himself in the auto biography. he told us of his he said some things happened that contributed to him going to the institute. what would some of those decisions and things be? >> he had to work and didn't have enough money to earn a spot- 'z before he made it. >> the dignity of labor and
working and in order to achieve so that he could pay his way into the institute. also for his entrance exam he said there was a particular event that happened. what that was? >>t$ix she helped him realize the labor when making them. he was like a servant cleaning and making sure it was in tip top condition. they helped him realize the dignity and value of labor. >> remember mrs. roughner? he values and experienced so much with mrs. roughner that he says she taught him not only the value of the dignity of labor, but many lessons that he would use throughout his life. he credits her for much of his success, right? washington tells us that there is a value here of hard work and
morality. he values being able to pay your own way. in other words washington is writing his auto biography and they have washington's beliefs of people of african decent that they claim out of slavery. we discussed this and he articulated a way to move them from dependency to 2347ds. there things you need in order to move from dependency to independence. there is resources you have to have, right? what are though things that washington discusses? yes? >> one of the most important things that washington focuses on aside from the material aspects of going through freedom
is discipline. that's why he is stressing the labor so much. >> discipline. all right. what else? >> he could work towards other things like education and jobs. >> discipline was extremely important. yes. another hand up. already. resources. what things did they need? >> skills necessary to be able to impact in positive ways? >> skills discipline. we discussed this. we talked about problems that some folks look at washington and get ahead of themselves. they say washington was advocating the uplift. he was advocating that. washington was advocating industrial education. he was advocating there too, but
as far as washington was concerned, this was the important of discipline. and a work ethic. discipline. value, etc. they called it give the resources to someone who doesn't have discipline. and the correct values, you are wasting the resources because they won't know what to do with them. washington doesn't make any argument here that somehow people of african decent coming out of slavery developing if they didn't already have. already to carry them forward. washington uses his own life. for discipline that people of african decent really have. he talks about his root. the hampton institute where he slept under the boardwalk. to pay his way and worked at a truck and all that stuff if they didn't give you money on the
journey. he cleans a room for the person who is there and the lessons taught about how to clean. he said that was my entrance examination. in terms of building blocks of booker t washington we had the sense of discipline. hard ;s the lessons that mrs. roughner taught him. he meets a man at hampton institute. remember him? armstrong? what did armstrong teach him? the dignity of labor. why was that@wqro important? to see labor in a dignified way. why was that important for people of african decent? yes? >> i know something was talked
about labor was seen as dehumanizing because slaves were like these physical bodies that were only fit for labor and there was no other dimension to them. they learned through time that labor was something to be ashamed of and something to shy away from. booker t washington had to show that there is dignity in labor and you should be proud in achieving something for yourself. >> dignity in labor. labor transformed labor from toil we might say. in a sense in which you are working, but not reaping the out come, the rewards. you have no vested interest in the labor because someone else is getting the reward. as a slave, you are working and not reaping the benefits. you are making someone else wealthy. he said armstrong caught me the dignity of labor and he tries to
emphasize labor as something that is dignified because washington is attempting to establish an economic base for people of african decent. that also is known as the atlanta compromise. washington is accused of being an accommodationist because he said that black people instead of going northward and leaving the south, they are leaving land and teritage and the possibilities for independence economically and they are going in search of education. political rights. less social pressure and away from the ku klux klan and going in search of jobs. washington said instead of going to the north and yard to find these things, stay in the south.
in the south, african-americans own land coming out of slavery. first of all there was a group of african-americans who had never4ññ been;á slaves. many were landowners. they gave land to their former slaves. african-americans are coming out of slavery. they were able to purchase their own land. they have land. in the south. it has been seen as the basis of wealth.
washington saying if we can make this land functional and work for us we can establish an economic base. if we establish that base the political and the social arenas of life will be easier to achieve. political rights will follow. social rights will follow. once we get an economic base. washington here is booking at the example that immigrants already had performed. already established. usually within a generation or so. their own economic basis and communities and etc. they are looking at immigrants and saying black people can do that too. that's short sided as we criticize washington and saying
okay, he is looking at immigrants and saying black people can do the same thing. why these people came in as immigrants and they didn't speak the language and know anything about american society etc. one generation they started pulling themselves up out of their lower class status. why can't african-americans do it? we have been here a lot longer. african-americans have an advantage over the immigrants. they speak english. they are americans. they ha2p? the right in order to make america function for them. washington is saying african-americans do like the immigrants. that's a bit short sided the immigrants can claim and often did claim later on that they were in fact white. they did not have the same physical description that people of african decent had and
secondly, they were never slaves and defined as property. so washington's analysis is short sided. his point none the less is that african-americans establish an economic base. once he became the&t< head master at the institute they found it and it was not true and he did not start. they had been founded. he built it from there. this is a picture of the site of thef3dñ institute when it was first performed. the two buildings, those two buildings have been restored and built on to and trying to maintain the original
architecture, etc. folks say it is being used as dormitories. if you get here, you can see the two buildings. can you imagine starting off this way? in his auto biography, he told us something about life in alabama when he first went there and started working to build the institute. he told us something about the people who are around and particular demographic and how many people there were and the educational level and how many people were living and a bunch of farms etc. and washington told us that the community from around the area that he is looking somehow to pull the students and also support for the institution is in what condition? what position is that community
in? how would you describe it? yes? >> i guess the term would be ignorant. saying if they had enough money, they could buy a clock. they would earn enough. they would know how to use it. >> they should have it. these things are signifiers that you made it. you have a piano and a clock. you have knives and forks and you know how to use it and washington said somehow i will have to get this community and this community of people are emblematic of the state for booker t washington that in large portions of
african-americans, you are stuck in. you are right at that time. he said how did i get these people from here? so that they can become more independent. so we have the original building of the institute and porter hall was the first building erected on the campus. that is a picture of it after it was erected. the significance of this is washington is attempting to build an institution. he believes that people of african decent are going to progress they must do so through institutions. they can't do so individually. they must do so through institutions. porter hall is the first erected on campus and of course we know that booker t washington
emphasized what he called industrial education. another way putting it in the 1920s, we will call it practical education. industrial education and that is what they needed to make the land profitable. the argument is what good is it for people of african decent to be able to quote shakespeare or edgar allen poe when they couldn't make the land productive. you have 50 acres of land and you have very little use for shakespeare. not that that's at bay bad thing to know it, but that ought not be your priority.
it's gaining the skills necessary to make thatulant productive to establish independence. here we have women who are learning how to till the fields. to reap the harvest from the fields. you know that washington also gave students ownership in the development of the institute. he tells us about slavery that one of the ways that he developed a leadership model and also kind of on the job training system for the students is that they participated;8s in the building. i thought that was very
interesting. we don't do that here. we don't ask. # the idea that even if you would have it wouldn't have looked as good as we have had here. washington in the latter part of the 19th century making an argument here that people of african descent need to participate in their own uplifting. his critique here goes back to the failures of reconstruction. washington believes that the problem, the primary problem of reconstruction and the efforts of reconstruction was that other than not being funded effectively was also that it created a system of dependency.
for people of african decent. washington's argument is if people of african decent are going to plosrosper and go immobile they must do so through independence. the way you get there are the(çjut values that he has already displayed in the route to becoming president of the institute. students building for a building at the institute they are physically saying that it becomes known and& the business itself and the training of students to be brick masons and bring them to run.+
the businesses in america. they can't wait for the students to graduate. before they have jobs. they are running stuff. they have the economic model and the call of washington. the prolific use of these resources for the students as well as his accommodationist discourse, washington became known as the creator of what the folks called the machine. they referred to it as the machine. washington at the institute speaking. he was a prolific speaker. one thing that many don't
realize about booker t washington is he was a licensed preacher. he had gone to seminary in washington, d.c. for 18 months. and he said he believed he had been called to preach and when he started meeting other black minsters. he lost interest in preaching because he didn't respect them. they were a group of folks who were just taking advantage. of the african-american population. they were uneducated and didn't have the interest of the people, of the masses. in fact they were simply in it for themselves. but washington gets out of the ministry and he:bn maintains the discourse of the black ministry and so when washington spoke, apparently it was an event. you listened to any recordings of booker t washington speaking
it's riveting. the manner in which he spoke. you can see right here that crowds of people would come out here and booker t washington speaks. speak.çd5 he's speaking again here laying the word down. reminds me of myself. so booker t. washington. not only with the institute did booker t. washington make a significant impact. we talked about washington and his impact as well with other what we call hbcus, that because of washington's influence he was able to open up opportunities for other hbcus to become land grant colleges. in fact, not only getting land but also money from the state and federal government. because of booker t. washington,
many hbcus became proficient and also very viable. although by 1900, tuskegee institute boasted an endowment of $1.5 million. that was a lot of money back then. that was a lot of money back then to have an endowment, particularly at a black university. also in 1900 booker t. washington starts the national negro business league. this is a picture of the executive committee of the national negro business league. this business league was started for the purpose of moving again the african-american community from dependency to independence through the establishment of black businesses that will be viable. so it's important to understand that washington is working
during an era where there is segregation. segregation meant that whatever people of african decent were going to do will have access to was going to happen within the black arena. right here in. georgia, in fact, there were areas that people of african decent lived. if someone was mobile, a professional, a doctor, a lawyer, a dentist or teacher or whatever, they simply live z in an area within the african-american community. it can go over to the side of town where the white people lived. so stores businesses, the economy within the black community had to be thriving and it was, in fact, thriving. one of the reasons the economy was thriving in the african-american community is because of the national negro business league that booker t. washington established.
one thing they would do is to not only promote the development of black businesses, but they would also help black businesses along. sod one so one started a grocery store or clothing store or any kind of business farming equipment, et cetera cetera, one could get aid and help from the national negro business league. so he put that together. after the publication of up from slavey in 1901, in fact, won him the claim nationally and internationally such that booker t. washington, in fact, became not only the most significant, the most powerful and well noun african-american leader in
america, but also he became internationally famous. and internationally known. this was during an era where there was no twitter. there was no cable. there was no facebook. no cell phones none of that. word about someone's success and celebrity status travel pry primarily through the newspapers and also word of mouth and also books and other print materials and booker t. washington, in fact was invited to dinner at the white house in 1901. this was very significant because washington was the first african-american who had ever been invited to dinner at the white house.
many of whom you might call haters, why him and not me that kind of thing, but also president roosevelt had recognized washington for his efforts and had literally almost appointed washington as a counsellor, as a primary adviser for the affairs of people of african decent. and so booker t. washington served as really the first black presidential adviser on behalf of people of african dissent as well as indians. so washington is very, very important in this respect. also president roosevelt as well as his wife were frequent visitors to tuskegee. institute. not only president roosevelt but also many.
dignitaries. one of the reasons washington was able to amass such a large endowment for tuskegee institute is because his funding primarily camevahd from liberal white -- during that era they were people who had founded these companies were in fact contributors and supporters of tuskegee institute. so we have here a picture for you of theodore roosevelt with booker t. washington at tuskegee institute.s@ this is a controversial picture of booker t. washington. this is at tuskegee institute.
if you drive to tuskegee. even today, you will see this statue there. the statue is of booker twa and the man crouching down is a slave. there is a blanket symbolic of like a vail and booker twa is supposedly lifting the vail off of the slave's face such that he can see and progress to something better. they raise the question was washington lifting the vail over the slave's eyes or pulling it down further because of his accommodationist believes.
it will come some time later although they will say that he still believed, however, that black people ought to have the right to vote. they are exercising their voices, but that ought not be the primary objective the number one priority of people of african decent. so this monument raises a critical question. some of you who have problems with booker t. washington, that's the source of the problem in some ways. but was he leading the way in opening the pathway to a great. opportunity for people of african decent or was he trying to somehow retard progress for
africans in lieu of other things. so as i come to conclude my part in this and then time to organize with me we have the positive legacy. started in 1881 the legacy continues after that. the national negro business league started in 1900. that was a tremendous thing for people of african decent economically and washington also supported and even helped found a number of african-american newspapers. this was extremely important because african-american newspapers were the primary means through which people of
african decent not only received information, but also people would place ads and things like that businesses would flourish because of african-american newspapers contributed to literacy. so african-american newspapers were extremely important. but then there are those detractors of booker t. washington's, in terms of his negative legacy many might argue. of course, at the top of the list is the exposition address that many argue for the atlantic compromise. it was delivered in 1895 at the states and industrial exposition. you've read that speech and so you know that booker t. washington, we said might even